"A prophet is not without honor save in his own country" applies as much to scenic features as to individuals. People who live almost within sound of Niagara Falls have never seen the Falls; people who have lived a lifetime within walking distance of Mammoth Cave have never visited the cave. Many of the inhabitants of Porter County have never seen the Dunes and they think of them as mere piles of sand.
The people of Europe consider the falls, the caves, and the dunes worth coming to America to see. They are telling us of their uniqueness and how they differ from all other such objects in other parts of the world.
We all agree that the government did well when it set aside the Great Tree areas of California as a national park. Why? Because there is nothing like these trees in the world. They represent tens of centuries of growth. And although they could be cut up into lumber and made into many fine homes, we say no. The trees cannot be replaced. Let them live as one of the great wonders of nature.
It has required thousands of years to form the dunes. They represent in a wonderful way the conflict between wind and water, and the conflict is still waging. What a wonderful setting for the dunes! One of the greatest fresh water lakes on one side and fertile farming country on the other.
Here is a place to which one may go and spend a happy day away from dirt, noise, and trouble. The air is the purest and sweetest, and all is so very different from every other spot in central United States.
It is true that these dunes represent a good place for several Garys. But my good friends, which is better, mills with their dirt and their attendant associations, or a great park surrounded by fine homes and a place where people for all time can go for the greatest of pleasures, day's or a week's outing?
It passeth the understanding of man that any one should vote against a goodly part of the southern shore of Lake Michigan as a great national park.
Posted 29th June, 1999; last updated 10th July, 2001.